We practiced Chinte recently during our senior Saturday class. This kata series serves to extend karateka knowledge about this kata, including its history and development.
Chinte is an interesting kata in the overall Shotokan grouping of katas. Its circular techniques, extensive use of shoulders, and various open-hand movements are uncommon in traditional Shotokan kihon practice. Yet Chinte remains a powerful, varied and interesting kata that, whilst often overlooked at competition level, contains a strong blend of unconventional kihon movements and intricate details in its technique and execution.
The kata is designed for self defense at close proximity. Its origins lie in ancient China, one of a few katas imported to Okinawa from that country. This perhaps explains its inclusion of such unconventional movements as the two-finger strike to the eyes, various displays of ippon-ken striking, and wide, circular movements.
Chinte is just as poetic as it is potent. An interpretation of its final closing movements, a series of hops that return the practitioner to the starting position and believed to be included to facilitate competition, is to evoke the image of waves being absorbed by the sand, a symbol of tranquility after the violent storm that is the kata’s torrent of powerful techniques.
The name, loosely translated, means “rare hand” or “unusual hand”, perhaps alluding to the finger-strikes, ippon-ken and round, open-hand circular movements.
Chinte’s blend of traditional techniques with these rare, ancient variations make it an appealing and dynamic choice if one wishes to break the traditional mould at competition level.